How to Start Your Home Yoga Practice
Fitting self care into our packed schedules is so important as busy moms/wives/ professionals/entrepreneurs, who do it all. Do you have a home yoga practice? If not, it may be something you want to consider. Not only is it ultra convenient, but it can also help you maintain a more consistent practice. A home practice can even help supplement your group classes or studio practice. All you need is a space, a mat, and your body.
Set up Your Home Yoga Space:
One question that i get asked a lot is about how to set up your home yoga space. Quite simply, you just need enough room to roll out your mat, and move your body. For my home practice, I use my living room, or the space on my patio. Just find a space that you like and that feels comfortable to you. If you like using any props or equipment, keep them in that space as well. You can create your space the way you like it.
*Bonus tip* I highly recommend having a fan in the room! Once you start moving, it gets hot!
One big way to stay motivated is to have a reason WHY you are doing it. This is what will keep you motivated to get on your mat every day. Set a big or long term goal. Each time you get on your mat, think about that goal or set an intention for that day.
Personally, I practice to take care of my body. I have been injured, and preventing injuries and pain is one thing that keeps me motivated. I know that if I neglect it, my body will let me know! Plus I really enjoy yoga & pilates inspired movements, so that helps keep me consistent. You can also set a goal for your practice or set an intention. Maybe you want to focus on building core strength, or improving hamstring flexibility. Maybe you want to focus on letting of excess stress. The important thing is to identify your WHY, and to not only get you onto your mat, but also to keep you focused throughout your practice. You can even come up with an affirmation to think to yourself as you move.
Schedule Your Yoga Time:
Scheduling times in your daily routine for your home yoga practice can really help you stick with it. Think same time same place. Make it part of your daily routine. Schedule it just like you schedule a dentist appointment or a meeting with a client, and then honor your commitment!
Here is a question that always seems to pop up. So what is the best time to practice yoga? ( or exercise in general)? The truth is, it depends on you. Whatever time you can actually stick to is the best time for you. If you are not a morning person, don't schedule it first thing in the morning. Take a look at your day, and ask yourself a few questions.
Where do I have time to add a yoga session into my day?
Where can I make time to fit my home yoga practice in? What changes can I make to my schedule to fit this in?
When do I feel like my body needs to move? Does my body feel like it needs to get moving as soon as I wake up, or do I need an energy boost after lunch? Maybe I need to get up and stretch mid day after sitting at the computer all morning?
Look for a point in your day where you can be active for at least 10-30 minutes (or more if you prefer!) Tune into how your body feels throughout your day and start to notice when you feel like you need to move.
I have two times that work best for me. One is right after I take my kids to school, before I start my work day. This works for me because I get it done first thing, and I feel great for the rest of the day. The other time that is good for me is midday, after I have accomplished some of my projects and appointments for the day. This works well because I get a break in the middle of the day, and gives me a chance to recharge for the rest day. Both work really well for me, personally. I just plan each day ahead of time, and schedule the appointments in.
SO When is the best time for you to schedule your home practice? Look at your schedule and add in your home practice appointments. Think of your home practice as important meetings you've scheduled with yourself. Remember -->Bosses don't cancel!
Have a yoga plan:
One thing that can really help you is to have a set sequence to start with. A good basic outline is to breathe, move, and relax. A five pose flow can be a great way to add a short home practice to your daily routine. Another good way to start is with a simple flowing sequence like a sun salutation, then layer in other poses that you want to work on.
My home practice consists of breathing, moving, and relaxing. I start with breathing and focusing inwards, then I add gentle movements to warm up the core and extremities. From there, I move into my own version of a sun salutation, standing postures, balance, then back to the floor for deeper stretching, and end with a few minutes of relaxation. In my practice, the individual poses may change, but i have a general outline of what I plan to work on each day.
To get started on a home practice, try starting with a basic sun salutation. Once you have your main flow, like a sun salutation, you can start to add in poses and do what feels good for your body. The key is to listen to your body, so you can learn what works best for you.
Track your progress:
Another way to help you establish and maintaining a home yoga practice is to keep track of your practice.
Have you ever kept a work out log? Why not try keeping a record of your yoga progress? You can keep track of the style, pace, focus, challenges, and energy level. You can start with a simple journal with the date and just write out what you did and how you felt, maybe even what you learned from that session. Monitoring your progress can also help you get a good picture of your practice, which can help deepen your experience. Seeing your progress and development can motivate you to get on your mat each day.
Things to keep track of in your practice:
Date and time of practice
Practice details: Did I go to a class? Did I do a home practice? Did I supplement my home practice with a yoga video? What style of class was it? How long did I practice? Who was the teacher?
How did I feel before practice?
What asanas did I have difficulty with?
What asanas did I finally conquer?
What do I want to work on next time?
How do I feel after practice?
Ready to Get Started?
Are you ready to start your home yoga practice? Here is a great resource to help you!
Click here to get your HOME YOGA TOOL KIT, including a short yoga video, as well as journaling & tracking sheets to help you stick with it!